pursy

1 of 2

adjective (1)

pursier; pursiest
1
: short-winded especially because of corpulence
2
: fat
pursiness noun
pursier; pursiest
1
: having a puckered appearance
2

Did you know?

There are two adjectives spelled pursy, each with its own etymology. The one describing a puckered appearance goes back to the mid-16th century and has its source in the noun purse ("a receptacle for carrying money and other small objects"); a drawstring purse's puckered appearance is the inspiration. The other pursy (pronounced PUH-see or PER-see) dates from the 15th century and can mean "short-winded especially because of corpulence" or simply "fat." This pursy comes from the Old French word pousser, meaning "to exert pressure" or "to breathe heavily"—the same word, etymologists believe, behind the word push.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective (1)

Middle English pursi, pursif, from Anglo-French porsif, alteration of *polsif, from Old French pousser to exert pressure, breathe heavily — more at push

Adjective (2)

purse entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (2)

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pursy was in the 15th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near pursy

Cite this Entry

“Pursy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursy. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ